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Posts Tagged ‘Totem’

Before my first cup of coffee, Bob said, “Have you seen your texts?”

California is at risk of floating away from a series of heavy storms, so my first thought was, “Are the kids evacuating?” Most of the rain is in Northern California but you never know.

Bob assured me everything was alright, while I looked at him incredulously. After an early morning series of text messages with the Bride, he couldn’t wait for me to read the news. While scrolling through the New York Times it seems the Bride came upon a familiar face – her brother! Yes, the very one who lives above a canyon in LA! We had failed to tell her he’d been interviewed during the summer about his work, but in fairness he wasn’t sure when the article, or even IF the article would be published.

I always thought the Rocker’s face would be on the cover of Rolling Stone someday, but for an old-fashioned news reporter, landing in the Grey Lady is the epitome of greatness! I sipped my coffee as I read the essay about the latest trend in trailer music and my son’s specific contributions.

While we were in Malibu I knew something had changed. One day I heard the Rocker laughing with his sister while the Groom was looking at his phone. My adult children know that TikTok is a bridge too far for me to cross, so they did their best to explain what had happened with my son’s latest trailer for the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie. Someone on TikTok connected the dots back to his company, Totem, and was giddy over the musical re-mix.

“The way it goes from No Woman No Cry into Alright and then how the music just goes into another gear at that 1:45 mark…,” another fan on Twitter said. And right before our eyes, Totem was blowing up on YouTube. I think that’s the right terminology.

When the Rocker was in high school, along with playing guitar in his band, he would always write his own music and play around with the oldies that our generation loved. His Fender Strat never left his hands. Since we had wonderful neighbors in the land between two rivers, the drum set stayed in our garage. Playing at the iconic Stone Pony in Asbury Park was just one highpoint of years and years of practice.

But to be honest, it wasn’t an easy trajectory. He left college to tour the world with The Parlor Mob; sleeping in vans and getting signed by one major record label only to be dropped and picked up by another. Some booking agents were better than others and of course they had to sell merchandise. He never complained. The accommodations improved, and the bar food was getting tastier as they worked their way up the ranks, but the entire music industry was changing around the boys in the band. Making a cohesive album of songs turned into 99 cent singles on your cell, or hearing your anthem play at an NHL arena.

He started off as a young boy listening to vinyl LPs in our living room, went straight into the teenage mixed cassette tape era crammed into his car’s windshield visor, and wound up with streaming music everywhere. Now he’s in the NYTimes! This is Eric Ducker’s intro:

“He’s played a crucial role in some of pop culture’s biggest recent moments. But few people outside of the space where the entertainment and marketing industries overlap know his name. As a composer, Rosen is at the forefront of the trailerization movement: He’s in demand for his ability to rework existing songs to maximize their impact in trailers for films and TV shows.He married vocals and motifs from Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” to a thunderous version of the “Stranger Things” theme in the lead-up to the second volume of the show’s fourth season. He intertwined the Nigerian singer Tems’s cover of “No Woman No Cry” with Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” in the teaser for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” symbolizing the meeting of the franchise’s future and its legacy.” 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/06/arts/music/trailer-music-trailerization.html

Granted Ducker’s essay included other trailer houses, but it led with Totem and a close-up of my son’s face. What I love, besides that punim, is how the Rocker took a song from the 80s, and introduced it to a new generation. Kate Bush, who recorded Running Up That Hill when the Rocker was a newborn, has now made over 2 Million dollars in royalties since its debut in Stranger Things. https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2022/07/08/kate-bush-stranger-things-how-much-did-she-earn/

That’s a nice retirement package!

What I really really love about the Rocker is his humble heart. His wife Kiki, or his sister have to tell me when he’s received an award or is working with a famous director. He would never brag about his accomplishments and would always be the first to offer a friend a couch to sleep on. He’s even helped other East Coast artists adapt to the West Coast vibe. When he needed children to sing a lullaby, he turned to our little California cousins. And most importantly, the Rocker never stopped hugging me in public, even in Middle School.

While 90% of California is currently on flood watch due to atmospheric rivers of rain, we’ve been interviewing contractors about our HVAC system. It can barely keep up with the swing in Nashville temperatures. And I can barely keep up with technology. But the wind has always been at my son’s back.

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